I WANT to update you on some further positive news on the economy and the cost of living.

Figures out this week show that inflation has fallen sharply once again to 3.4 per cent. It has rightly been a government priority to bring this down, and we are now seeing the benefits as mortgage rates and grocery prices fall.

From next month, the energy price cap will also fall by 12 per cent meaning that for every £100 you spend on energy through your direct debit today, you will be paying £87.70 from 1st April.

All this comes alongside the recent Budget, in which the Chancellor announced sensible and targeted measures to help people at every stage.

Employee National Insurance has been cut by a further two per cent. Taken with the cut last autumn, workers on the average salary will now save over £900 a year.

On child benefit, we are increasing the threshold to £60,000 and changing the way it is assessed so that more families who are just about managing, qualify for help.

And we have frozen fuel and alcohol duty once again, and extended support via the council for vulnerable people through warm spaces and food vouchers.

For small businesses, the VAT threshold is going up to £90,000. This will free up many of them in areas like Andover and Basingstoke from paying the tax altogether.  

At the same time, we are investing £6bn more in the NHS; millions in tech to free up police officers from form filling and allow people to report crimes by video call; and we are spending £105m on building new schools across the country for children with special educational needs.

Spending on our public services has gone up since 2010 — and we are able to continue this because of careful economic management despite the pandemic and war in Ukraine. Since 2010, we have grown faster than France, Germany and Italy.

As inflation falls, the economy improves, and measures from the Budget come into effect, families in NW Hants will see real benefits.